Family welcome plans for tribute to Scottish rock star

Jimmy Bain on stage with Dio.
Jimmy Bain on stage with Dio.

Moves are afoot to have a tribute to late rock star Jimmy Bain created in his home town of Dunbar, much to the delight of relatives of his including his niece Linda Renton.

Linda, of Eyemouth, was invited along to Dunbar Community Council’s latest meeting to express the family’s support for such recognition of her uncle’s achievements in the music business.

“All the family were pleased to hear about this, and hopefully it will go ahead,” the 64-year-old told the Berwickshire News this week.

“We grew up together. Jimmy was my uncle, but he was only five years older than me.

“We use to go and visit him and his mum and dad, Ella and Alistair, for our holidays.”

The council agreed to support moves to have a commemorative plaque put up, subject to planning permission being forthcoming.

The provision of a plaque outside the former Foresters’ Arms, in Colvin Street, Bain’s dad having been a tenant landlord there during the 1960s, was proposed to the council by Mark Beattie, a fan of the Rainbow and Dio bassist.

He also suggested having a statue of Bain put up near the music room at his old school, Dunbar Grammar, but was warned that that might be a taller order.

Bain, born in the village of Newtonmore in the Scottish Highlands in 1947, moved to Dunbar in 1958 and remained there until his musical career took off in his early twenties.

He joined his first band, Nick and the Sinners, while still at school in 1961, along with fellow pupils Lloyd Togneri, Jimmy Gaffney and Robin Johnstone and ex-pupil Jimmy Marr.

After leaving school, Bain, a lead guitarist at that time, went on to join the Embers, Street Noise, Choker and, in 1974, Harlot.

His stint with the short-lived rock act Harlot proved to be Bain’s big break as it was at one of their shows, at the Marquee in London, that he caught the eye of former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and future Black Sabbath frontman Ronnie James Dio and was then asked to join their band Rainbow.

Bain only played on one of the band’s eight studio albums, Rising, a No 11 hit in 1976, as he was sacked by Blackmore the year after, though he did also feature on their 1977 live album, On Stage, a No 7 hit, and Live in Germany 1976, an archive release put out in 1990.

That wasn’t the end of his association with the late Dio, however, as he joined the US singer’s post-Black Sabbath band, called Dio in 1982, remaining with them until 1989 and rejoining them from 1999 to 2004.

Bain played on six of Dio’s 10 studio albums – 1983’s Holy Diver, a No 13 hit; 1984’s The Last in Line, a No 4; 1985’s Sacred Heart, also a No 4; 1987’s Dream Evil, a No 8; the non-charting Magica in 2000; and 2002’s Killing the Dragon, not a hit either.

Linda, formerly a teacher at Chirnside Primary School, can recall with pride watching her uncle Jimmy perform several times at venues around Berwickshire and on bigger stages later on.

“The first time I saw him was in Chirnside when he was with Nick and the Sinners. I can’t remember what the hall was called then, but it’s a furniture store now,” she said.

“He picked me up on the way there. I must have been about 12 at the time, and he’d have been 17.

“I saw him at the Edinburgh Playhouse with Dio too.”

He also played on the No 2 hit Black Rose: A Rock Legend, his friend Phil Lynott’s 1979 album with Thin Lizzy, and on the late Lynott’s two solo records, 1980’s Solo in Soho and 1982’s The Philip Lynott Album.

Others acts Bain featured in over the years included Wild Horses, World War III, Mandy Lion, the Hollywood All Starz, 3 Legged Dogg, the Key and Last in Line, a Dio tribute act formed in 2012 with other ex-members of the band, as well as playing for the likes of John Cale and Kate Bush.

Another of his claims to fame was forming the supergroup Hear ’n Aid in 1985 to record the charity single Stars, a No 26 hit co-written with Dio and fellow Dio member Vivian Campbell.

Among the artists featured on it were Dio, Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford, Blue Oyster Cult’s Eric Bloom, Queensryche’s Geoff Tate, Motley Crue singer Vince Neil, Ted Nugent, Iron Maiden guitarist Dave Murray and Journey’s Neil Schon.

Bain died of lung cancer in January last year at the age of 68, leaving a daughter, Sam.